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Also known as
Mexican potato, Mexican turnip, Yam beetroot, Potato beans.
Jicama is a crispy, sweet, edible root that resembles a turnip in physical appearance, although the plants are not related. Jicama has been cultivated in South America for centuries, and the vegetable is quite popular in Mexican cuisine. Jicama is actually a legume, and it grows on vines that may reach 20 feet (six meters) in length.
Before eating, the coarse brown outer layer of the jicama should be peeled to reveal the white inside. Put the washed jicama on a chopping board and chop them in small 1-2 inch sized pieces. They can be halved, sliced, diced, cubed or even cut into julienne strips
How to select
When choosing jicama at the store, look for medium sized, firm tubers with dry roots. Do not purchase jicama that has wet or soft spots, which may indicate rot, and don't be drawn to overlarge examples of the tuber, because they may not be as flavorful.
· Jicama is excellent raw and is sometimes eaten plain.
· It can also be used as a substitute for water chestnut in Chinese dishes, in which case it should be thrown in right before serving.
· Jicama also appears in stews, juiced drinks, stuffings, and a variety of other recipes. In addition to having a unique flavor and texture, jicama takes flavor well, making it well suited to culinary experimentation
· Jicama has a unique flavor that lends itself well to salads, salsas, and vegetable platters
· Add thinly sliced matchsticks to your salad for a carb-free boost.
· Use thin slices as a taco garnish or mix with cabbage for cole slaw.
· Top jicama slices with fruit salsa or seafood salad for a quick appetizer.
How to store
Jicama will keep under refrigeration for up to two weeks. If not serving right away, briefly dunk the pieces in water with a squeeze of lemon in it, to keep the jicama from browning.
· Jicama is a great source of vitamin c and is fat free-making it a superb on-the-go snack
· Jicama is a nearly perfect food for healthful eating--low in calories, fat free, nutritious and satisfying
· They also provide a generous helping of folic acid, a water-soluble B vitamin that is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells--especially important during pregnancy.
· Researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland recently linked consumption of this component to preservation of bone mass in laboratory animals, due to improved calcium absorption, thus providing a guard against osteoporosis.
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